Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey joined their Connecticut colleague Sen. Chris Murphy and fellow Democrats in a surprise, 15-hour filibuster, demanding a vote on gun control measures in the wake of Sunday’s Orlando gay nightclub shooting.
The Democrats’ filibuster, one of the longest in modern Senate history, began at 11:21 a.m. Wednesday, when Murphy said he refused to give up the floor “until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together.” In contrast to Sen. Ted Cruz reading Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham in 2013, this filibuster saw substantive debate over gun control, culminating with Murphy memorializing six-year-old Sandy Hook victim Dylan Hockley around 2:11 a.m.
— Josh Berlinger (@j_berlingerCNN) June 16, 2016
Senate Democrats hope to pass two amendments on an unrelated spending bill, requiring universal background checks and denying those on the terror watchlist from buying guns.
“If someone cannot get on an airplane because the FBI is concerned they might be plotting to do harm against Americans, then they shouldn’t be able to walk into a store and buy a Rambo-style assault weapon,” Warren said. “If we fail to act, the next time someone uses a gun to kill one of us, a gun that we could have kept out of the hands of a terrorist, then the members of this Congress will have blood on our hands.”
Markey called the massacre in Orlando “sadly just a preview of coming attractions” until action is taken, and chastised Congress for failing to fund Centers for Disease Control research into the country’s “gun epidemic.”
“Why can’t we find a way to at least fund the research on the causes of gun violence?” he said. “The answer is that the NRA does not want a single nickel to be spent on that issue. The NRA controls the agenda on the Senate floor with a vise-like grip and it will not let it go.”
While the Massachusetts delegation made its case on the floor of the Senate, the state’s largest broadsheet fired a editorial broadside against lawmakers who have received cash from the National Rifle Association and obstructed gun control legislation.
The Globe wrapped its front page with an opinion section displaying an actual-size, semiautomatic assault rifle and an entry wound caused by an AR-15, paired with a much larger exit wound on the back to convey the gun’s devastating power.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 16, 2016
“Unless this nation wants to see more mass killing in our schools, churches, theaters, nightspots, and office buildings, we must address the casualty quotient, which vastly increases with the use of semiautomatic assault arms,” the Globe wrote in the accompanying editorial. “The idea of restricting unfettered access to assault weapons is only considered radical when it comes out of the mouth of a modern U.S. president. To most Americans, and every other democracy on the planet, it is rightly considered common sense.”
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